Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is a new (still in beta) website from Statistics Canada to measure this country's progress toward United Nations sustainable development goals (SDG). It looks very nice but I have to admit I'm not enthusiastic about many of the measures. For example, for SDG4, 'ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all', we have exactly two measures: high school completion rate (which at 80% for Canada strikes me as surprisingly low) and post-secondary attainment rate (at 60% ranks as among the best in the world). This strikes me as a wholly inadequate set of measures, even if they're subdivided by age, gender, etc. Compare these with the actual U.N. targets and you'll see what I mean. The measures elsewhere seem equally meaningless; for example, under SDG10 (reduce inequality) measures include 'hourly wage ratio' and 'annual after-tax income', neither of which are indicators of inequality (and again, the U.N. targets).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 22, 2021 12:02 p.m.